Today so far

has been up and down. I’ve finally realised that one reason I’m so tired all the time is that I spend most of the night on the edge of sleep trying to stay under my blanket. I’m pretty spoiled, comparatively speaking.

The bed is one of the very narrow ones – 25″ I think – and the blanket is only a couple inches wider on each side. So if I turn on my side in my sleep, I’m having cold air whistling all around me since the blanket just won’t cover the bulk of a body sleeping on its side. And I’ve spent a whole lot of nights just trying not to fall off the bed. Going to spend some time trying to find a wider blanket so I can get some effective rest.

School today was interesting. The grammar class was mainly wasted time, as not only were the children afraid to speak up, but their grounding in simple tense structures is so meagre that trying to do continuous and perfect tenses as they have been doing is useless. I’ll have to find some practise exercises for simple tense structures and see how they do. Then I’ll know where I am.

The class in number patterns went markedly better. They understood patterns with a positive constant rule, and caught on to those with a constant negative rule quickly. Then I tried some with an inconstant rule (I know those are probably not proper terms, but I hope you get the drift) and that took a bit of explaining regarding the fact that you had to find the rule all the way across the number sequence to find the rule to apply. Onward and upward.

The monkeys (The Gang of Five) have learned to take the logs off the garbage bins, and garbage was all over the yard this morning before I got up. Cheeky little beggars, but so cute.

I’ll post a few more pictures, then got to get on to school work.

Mr Big - not so pretty

Crested hornbill - not a hamerkop as I’d thought

House lizard - keeps the crawlies out of your bed and belongings

Yellow-bellied Bulbul

Vervet monkey - the risk-taker of The Gang

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1 Comment »

  1. MT said

    Hi, grannym!

    Thanks so much for your reply to my comments. How you find the time and energy to correspond is to be commended. Am enjoying your ‘take’ on your area of SA, and can see how you are enjoying the stay in spite of the challenges. Hope you have the bed/blanket annoyance sorted by now. A good night’s sleep makes the problems of the day more bearable, don’t you think?

    *** Oh, boy – does it ever! I did find some wider blankets and today even a pillow that is at least one solid lump instead of two that separate around your head.
    And am surely enjoying the stay here. Despite the challenges, you can see the effort being expended by both sudents and staff to try and do what they can with what they have. Sure makes me grateful for all the things we at home have and take quite for granted. ***

    And wow – do you have challenges to face at your school! Have just read the previous comments from your Canadian cohorts to see the kind of lesson material they are sending you for your grammar class – heavy stuff even for a person fluent in english. Your SA kids really do not have the background yet on which to build. Have you found a course of study yet? Aren’t all the courses set by the province, with standard exams at the end of term? I think they are – but that does not mean that qualified teachers are employed to present the material, that there is not a strike that disrupts the school year, that the absentee rate is not very high, etc., etc. Good luck in your attempts to improve their lot. They will appreciate your enthusiasm and everything you are trying to do.

    *** Yes – and once I get the kids talking, and I am gently working on getting the teachers talking too, and persuading them to use more conversation rather than rote and parrotting in class, I’m hoping that will be a better legacy of my time here than The
    Hokey Pokey, which I have used is several classes to teach English body parts. Grade 7 got quite – um – carried away with the body parts aspect. ***

    No, could not identify your ‘Ow-w-w, Canada goose honk’ bird! Don’t think it’s the gymnogene (a raptor). Could it be a hadeda, the common ibis with the long downward-curved beak, who makes a raucous squawk and comes gliding in to land like a pelican does? But you said you have not seen your mysterious honker yet. You would have seen the hadeda – they are everywhere. Hope Oscar can help you solve the mystery.

    *** Hadeda it is, but still haven’t seen it. Oscar is good, but Bongani is better and Tom is THE MAN. ***

    TV news is on right now, and they are showing Nelson Mandela in London as they unveil his statue to stand alongside other world leaders. What a great old man, but he is looking very frail. It’s also the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina – and New Orleans is still suffering – yet rushing to prepare for this year’s hurricane season. I guess all big problems need time to be alleviated (i.e. your english class challenges).

    Gotta switch off! It’s been a hot, steamy day in Southern Ontario, and Detroit TV is showing severe storm/tornado warnings for the next few hours. It has gotten eerily dark all of a sudden, and I don’t like to be at the keyboard when the weather is like this. The good news is – a ‘cold front’ is to follow, so the Labour Day weekend is to be very pleasant. And then ……….. everyone goes back to school ………. but WE DON’T!!! (I am trying not to say, “Na na, na na na!”)

    *** Hope the storm didn’t so too much damage, and cooled the air nicely. Humidity is HELL!!
    And maybe you don’t have to go back to work, but I do, as soon as I get home, end of October. I never was a school teacher, just taught many courses like LaMazze and several training courses at work and so on. And I’ve still got a couple years until retirement from my full-time job, which is as a tax collector. Please don’t hate me!!
    So children’s classroom work like this is quite foreign territory for me, though having all the help I’m getting is making it easier to get things across and to find resources to use.
    I lived in Windsor as a teenager, but only for one year. Lived on MacDougall, in my grandmother’s house after she passed away, in order to settle her affairs. Can’t remember the name of the high school I went to – isn’t that pathetic? but it was older then, and may be gone now. ***

    Hamba gahle, sala gahle, grannym! All the best from MT in Windsor
    **Same back, and just wait until I try and persuade you to come over here and spend a couple months at the school **

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